World ov Worms
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen
In case you happen to run into Zyklon's debut album at your local record store and aren't sure who they are, a handy little informative sticker on the cover states that the CD features prominent members of Emperor, Myrkskog, and Limbonic Art. Seeing as Emperor especially carries a good bit of name recognition in this scene, it shouldn't be too surprising that Candlelight is marketing the Zyklon album that way. Nonetheless, this CD would be just as exciting even if it wasn't public knowledge that Trym and Zamoth were in the band. This is no rehash of Emperor's work. Zyklon is reminscent of Myrkskog, however, though far more melodic and less chaotic.
The first two tracks establish a really heavy and relentless sound. There's some melody sprinkled here and there, but more attention is given to the technical death metal riffs and some short solos. Along with other bands who blur elements of technical death metal and black metal (such as recent Immortal or Akercocke), the solos usually hit hard and fade quickly. I'm not sure if there is some unwritten rule that when playing this style of music solos are not to exceed 20 seconds in length, but one of these days I'd really like to see Zyklon expand on them more. As they show with what brief fast-fingered solos they do play, even in this style you can use them effectively to add to the sound and not lose the heavy edge.
"Chaos Deathcult" is the first song where they really slow down the tempo and make sure the lyrical message gets across. Faust's guest lyrics on "World ov Worms" draw upon the works of Nietzche, Huxley, and Orwell, and generally just tell us what's wrong with today's world. This track specifically attacks Christianity, and if the heavy riffs and brutal growling courtesy of Daemon (Limbonic Art) don't drive the message home, Zyklon has a backup plan. The song slows down and brings in some rather machine-like industrial tinged sounds into the mix, and over it you get to hear Faust's lyrics spoken cleanly by Garm (Ulver, Arcturus) and Mistress Persephone (if you don't know - don't ask).
Each of the tracks that follows mostly stays in the vein of death metal meets black metal, mixing melody and heavier riffs smoothly. At one point during "Zycloned" they even slow things down and again show their slightly industrial leanings. Machinery sounds of some sort and a neat guitar line plod along to give the listener a change of pace, before blasting forth in full force once more. And while we're on the subject of blasting with full force, I can't forget to mention Trym's drum performance. This is easily the most brutal and fast drum work I've ever heard him do. In addition the relentless blast beats he throws in a number of rapid and chaotic drum fills to keep things interesting.
The album closer, "Transcendental War - Battle Between Gods" is easily my favorite, and in itself a strong argument for paying attention to Zyklon. It shows off their ability to pound the listener with heavy death metal oriented riffs, slice and dice with razor sharp black metal guitars, and slow things down to solo a bit (for longer than 5 seconds, even!). To further enhance the variation in this excellent song, Zyklon invited Garm to contribute some really amazing clean vocals to the Zyklon style. His powerful vocal performance enhances the mood a great deal, and admittedly it was nice just to hear Garm's voice soaring over some heavy material once again.
"World ov Worms" is one of the best debut albums I've heard in a while, and it's got very clear production that gives it a powerful, driving sound. Zyklon is one metal band to make note of, even if this first release isn't quite your thing. They've got a lot going for them right now, and I suspect their songwriting skills will only continue to improve.
Zyklon - Official Web Site